No legal proceedings issued by Dublin City Council on rental failings since 2019

No Legal Proceedings Issued By Dublin City Council On Rental Failings Since 2019
The authority said that its ability to carry out physical inspections at rented homes was “severely hampered” during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: PA.
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Dublin City Council has initiated no legal proceedings for housing standard failings in rental accommodation for the past three years.

There were also no prohibition notices issued in 2021, and just 10 issued in 2020.


The authority said that its ability to carry out physical inspections at rented homes was “severely hampered” during the Covid-19 pandemic, and had to pursue compliance with regulations in other ways.

The Department of Housing said that the number of inspections carried out nationally by local authorities fell to 20,000 in 2021, from 40,700 in 2019.

Regulations introduced in 2019 provide minimum standards for rental accommodation across areas such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, ventilation, natural light, fire safety and the safety of gas, oil and electrical supplies.

Figures show that although Dublin City Council (DCC) initiated 28 legal proceedings in 2018 and 55 in 2019, none were taken in the following three years.


The lack of prosecutions pursued comes alongside 3,828 improvement letters, 945 improvement notices and 138 prohibition notices issued last year and 2,098 improvement letters and 254 improvement notices issued in 2021.

Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said that the lack of legal proceedings was in stark contrast to the thousands of letters sent by the council seeking improvements to tenant accommodation.

“We can’t keep giving a free pass to bad landlords,” she said.


“Every day, we’re walking past rental accommodation in Dublin Central which is severely overcrowded, structurally unsound and with cramped conditions.

“To think that Dublin City Council has taken no legal proceedings against bad landlords for three years running is absolutely and completely shocking.”

In a statement, Dublin City Council said that inspections of private rented dwellings were severely hampered during pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021.

“A temporary system of virtual inspections was developed by Dublin City Council to respond to these restrictions and these inspections proved to be largely successful in terms of bringing properties into compliance with legislative requirements,” it said.


“Limited physical inspections recommenced in July 2021 with a more gradual return to pre-pandemic inspection conditions in Q2 2022.

“It was difficult to serve a prohibition notice on any private rented property inspected by way of virtual inspection but compliances were achieved through active engagement.

“Hence in 2020 and 2021, a limited number of prohibition notices were served. In 2022, following easing of inspection restrictions, 138 prohibition notices were served.”

It added that prohibition notices issued in the last six months of last year that have not been brought into compliance “will be brought through full legal processes this year”.

The Department of Housing said that the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 provide for minimum standards for all properties being let or available to let.

It said that although responsibility for enforcement lies with local authorities, it sets inspection targets for each local authority and meets regularly with the sector to monitor their performance.

“The City and County Management Association’s Local Authority Services Frameworks for Future Covid-19 Pandemic Response did not permit on-site rental inspections for long periods in 2020 and 2021,” it said.

“This was in order to protect tenants, landlords and inspectors, but impacted on the number of private rented dwellings conducted, with the number of on-site inspections falling from a high of circa 40,700 in 2019 to 25,000 in 2020 and 20,000 in 2021.

“In response to pandemic restrictions some local authorities, in an initiative led by DCC, piloted virtual inspections with support from the Department.

“With restrictions lifted, 2022 saw inspections climb to a record of circa 49,000, with DCC undertaking 6,532.

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“While data from some local authorities is currently being validated, local authorities issued circa 33,600 improvement letters and served 1,740 improvement notices and 170 prohibition notices in respect of non-compliant dwellings.

“Of these, DCC issued 3,828 improvement letters and served 945 improvement notices and 138 prohibition notices.”

The Department of Housing said it also provides an Exchequer subvention to local authorities to help meet the cost of rental inspections and enforcements.

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